By Rhansyl Harris
Ministry tends to pull us into uncomfortable places. In fact, if we are too comfortable we might want to check or reassess our mission. I think about Mother Theresa, who gave up everything that she had to minister to the marginalized and unwanted people of Calcutta.
Ministering to the Unwanted
How do we minister to the unwanted? How do we show love to those who by some are considered the scum of the earth? How do we embrace those who wear their pants down to their ankles or tattoo their faces, arms, legs, chest, and God knows where else? What about the heroin, cocaine, marijuana, crack, and meth dealers and users? How do we, as possessors of this ministry of reconciliation, offer salvation to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender) community?
In my estimation, when God delivered us out of the jaws, claws, and paws of Satan, it was to be a trickle-down effect. What I mean is that we have been set free so that others can be set free through us. I always tell my congregation that we have been blessed to be a blessing. Therefore, if I know that God has forgiven me for all of the vile, vituperous, and venomous behavior of my past, he can do the same for anybody on this earth!
Are You Serious?
God will get his message out in the most unorthodox ways. For Moses, he used a snake. For Jonah, he used a fish. For Elijah, he used a raven. But for Peter, he used a zoo of forbidden animals. God told Peter to slice them up and eat them. God, in essence, told Peter to indulge in that which would take him to an unfamiliar, uncomfortable, and unimaginable place. The selection of animals represented the different groups that he was going to witness to, starting with Cornelius and his Gentile family.
May we never be so forgetful of what God has done for us that we refuse to share that goodness with everyone.
Dr. Rhansyl Harris is the Lead Pastor of the Rock Church of Cincinnati, Ohio, and adjunct instructor at Cincinnati Christian University. Rhansyl has been joyously married to Shirley for over 16 years, and they are blessed with two children, son, Ryan, and daughter, Raegan.